Sunday, August 17, 2008

The 13th Juror Strikes Again!-2

"A federal judge in Phoenix Monday overturned a verdict against Apollo Group Inc., ruling that jurors erred in January when they sided with a class of shareholders who had sued the company for fraud. Had the ruling stood, Apollo, the owner of the for-profit University of Phoenix, faced a payout of as much as $280 million. The jury trial garnered attention, partly because so few shareholder lawsuits go to trial. ... After a two-month trial in Phoenix, the jury found evidence of fraud concerning the timing of the report's release and awarded shareholders $5.55 a share. Judge James Teilborg Monday overturned the jury's ruling, essentially holding that the plaintiff's failed to show that they suffered damages as a result of the fraud. ... Wayne Smith [WS] of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which represented Apollo said: "We didn't settle this case because we believed there were no damages", Ashby Jones at the WSJ, 6 August 2008.

Another federal judge who should be thrown off the bench. It is not Teilborg's job to: weigh the evidence, assess witness credibility or shill for Apollo. I think his "reasoning" was as follows: Apollo is a big Phoenix area employer so I will not let a jury verdict stand against it. The correct standard for the judge to review the case is the "no evidence" standard. If that was so, the case should have been disposed of before trial through summary judgment. WS claims "we believed there were no damages". That may be WS's opinion. So? He's paid to express that opinion. Alternatively, WS knew the fix was in from the start. I've said before: nothing that comes out of our courts should be taken at face value. I have followed Apollo since 2002 and concluded it committed just the fraud it was accused of. At the time in 2004! What are you going to do about that, WS? I concluded your client committed a fraud.

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